For i-Size regulations, see our ‘Introducing i-Size’ post.
Car seats and the laws regarding them can be some of the most confusing pieces of information out there. In the UK, the law requires that:
‘all children travelling in the front or rear seat of any car, van or goods vehicle must use the correct child car seat until they are either 135 cm in height or 12 years old (which ever they reach first). After this they must use an adult seat belt.’
So what options are there for car seats before this legal limit?
Group 0 (suitable from birth to 6-9 months, 22lb)
These do exist, they’re just not very common in the UK. Most parents opt for the Group 0+ seats as they last longer. The group 0 car seats lie flat which is suitable for a newborn and in particular premature and low birth-weight babies.
Group 0+ (suitable from birth to 29lb which is around 12-15 months)
These are the most common type of seats seen in the UK for new born babies. They’re built to offer protection to your babies head and spine primarily. They also have a greater side impact protection than the group 0 seats. These are also popular as you can find some seats compatible with ISOFIX bases for added protection and can also be compatible with some pushchairs to form a travel system.
Extended rear facing seats
You can buy car seats designed to rearward face suitable for babies from 18kg to 4 years old. There is some evidence that keeping your child rearward facing for longer is safer, but it is entirely your choice. You can move to a forward facing seat if that’s what you wish.
Forward Facing: Group 1(suitable for 20lb – 40lb, 9 months – 4 years)
These seats are quite heavy and giver a greater amount of side protecting compared to earlier car seats. They also have higher side impact wings to protect your child’s head in the event of an accident in the same way the head huggers do in the group 0+ car seats.
Forward Facing Group 1-2-3 (suitable from 9months – 11 years)
These seats are long-lasting. They look similar to the Group 1 seats, just less bulky and tend to sit lower down. The idea of these seats is to act as a group 1 seat with a harness and side protection and as your child grows, the head rest can be adjusted and the harness removed so the car’s seat belt can be used. Some of these seats even have the option to be turned into a booster seat.
For more information, you can pop into your local Mothercare or Halfords store as well as finding other pieces of information online.
Until next time…